Nirvana Sued For Unauthorized Use Of Dante's 'Inferno' Artwork On Merch

By Eliot Hill

May 5, 2021

Nirvana is being sued for an image the band has been using on merchandise for 24 years.

The heir of prominent British artist C.W. Scott-Giles filed a suit alleging that Nirvana ripped off Scott-Giles' illustration of Dante's circles of Upper Hell.

Scott-Giles' granddaughter filed the lawsuit to Nirvana LLC, Silva Artist Management LLC, Live Nation Merchandise LLC, and its Merch Traffic LLC unit at the end of last month. 

According to Blabbermouth, the suit claims: "On or about January 20, 2021, Plaintiff discovered that Defendants NIRVANA and Live Nation Merchandise are (and have been) licensing, promoting, selling, manufacturing, and distributing vinyl records, t-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, key fobs, mugs, patches, buttons, and other merchandise items depicting an image virtually identical to the Illustration both in the U.S. and abroad."

The complaint also revealed the unauthorized use of the image can date back over 30 years to 1989 and pointed out the band is making false claims of owning the image: "Further research also revealed that over the years, the band NIRVANA and parties acting on its behalf have routinely made false claims of ownership of the copyright in the Illustration by placing false copyright notices on the Infringing Products in substantially this form '© [Year] Nirvana'."

Nirvana is not the first or the last band to find itself in the middle of a copyright infringement. The band itself is currently still in a legal battle with designer Marc Jacobs over the band's infamous smiley face motif. 

Photo: Getty Images


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